Emotional control in the negotiation process is difficult to master. It’s partly because as a species we are ruled by emotion. It’s difficult to take a step back and let go of the different influences on the negotiation and focus on the facts. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Jeb Blount shares his take on emotional control in negotiation and why it’s so important to the process.
Jeb Blount is the CEO of Sales Gravy and a Sales Acceleration Specialist. He’s a best-selling author and most recently penned: INKED: The Ultimate Guide to Powerful Closing and Sales Negotiation Tactics that Unlock YES and Seal the Deal. Jeb is a world-renowned keynote speaker and the host of the Sales Gravy Podcast. This episode is packed with information you can use to become a better negotiator—don’t miss it!
Negotiation is essentially emotionally controlled conflict. Jeb points out that because it’s inherently conflict, it’s difficult for people in western economies to engage in. Negotiation isn’t an everyday facet of our lives like it is in some Eastern cultures, such as India. If you’re in the UK, US, or Canada you don’t negotiate—you pay the price.
Because negotiating isn’t a part of our everyday existence, we aren’t good at it nor do we like it. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding negotiating. In some instances, if you attempt to haggle or negotiate a price it’s met with contempt and an upturned nose—leaving you embarrassed. When it isn’t a cultural norm, it can feel uncomfortable. It can feel like rejection. It feels like a zero-sum game with distinct winners and losers.
Unfortunately, most salespeople aren’t properly trained how to negotiate. If they are, they’re trained by someone who typically doesn’t have sales experience. On the flip side, most procurement people are professionally trained negotiators who know what they’re doing and take advantage of that fact.
Jeb embraces a few rules as part of his negotiation process:
Rule #1: Don’t negotiate until you’ve already won the deal. Until you’re selected as the vendor of choice, don’t attempt to negotiate—or you’re just negotiating with yourself.
Rule #2: Leverage the negotiation triangle. Make sure you develop a great relationship with someone in the stakeholder group. Once they select you, you’re typically shoved off to procurement who want to lower your prices. It’s nice to have a stakeholder to reach out to if it seems you’re at an impasse.
Rule #3: Incorporate a give-take playlist. Jeb points out that you should never give without taking something in return. He emphasizes that “I want to be able to give things to the buyer that are low-value to me but high-value to the buyer while I take things away from the buyer that are high-value to them.” The more you take, the more painful the negotiation process becomes—thereby compelling them to stop negotiating and align on a deal.
Jeb believes that emotional control is paramount to your success:
“Don't negotiate when you're hungry. Don't negotiate when you're tired. Don't negotiate when you're worn out. Because when you're in those positions, you're more likely to give things away that you don't have to...When you're worn out, there's a limit to your willpower, your emotional control, and discipline.”
He notes that if you’re not in a position where you can exercise full emotional control, do everything possible to reschedule the negotiation so you don’t get into a situation where you're giving away the upper hand to the buyer.
Jeb goes on to share a negotiation strategy that he teaches in his book: The MLP strategy (Motivation, Leverage, and Power). He also shares some powerful negotiation dos and don’ts. To learn more about how he leverages these in a negotiation, keep listening!
Jeb’s company had spent six months going through a discovery phase with a prospect they had worked with in the past. But the deal they were working on was the largest yet. They had reached the final proposal and were selected as the vendor of choice. So the stakeholder group sent them off to procurement to nail down contracts.
Their counterparties procurement team sent them a letter stating that they had found other businesses that can do what Jeb’s company was offering—but at a better price. Jeb’s saleswoman read that letter and lost all emotional control, worried they were going to lose the deal. She was poised and ready to concede and lower their pricing to save the deal. But Jeb knew it was a negotiation tactic and responded accordingly. He let them know that they’d be happy to lower the price to fit the budget, but that something would have to be removed from the deal to do so.
They came back to the table and quibbled over details for three solid months. The executive team was being pressured by the upper-management to wrap things up because they were now way behind schedule. Jeb received a call from the executive sponsor trying to figure out what the hold-up was. Jeb filled him in and told him that procurement had stalled the process.
So the executive sponsor made a call to the Senior Vice President. The VP then called procurement. 24 hours later, they received their original contract, signed and ready to move forward. Jeb’s emotional control and relationship-building strategy won them the deal.
This episode is PACKED with useful resources from a top sales negotiator. Listen to the whole episode to take advantage of his vast knowledge and expertise.
Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
Do you know what it takes to be a successful negotiator? Do you possess some of the necessary skills and attributes? Do you need to brush up on your negotiation skills? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Mladen Kresic hones in on why salespeople struggle with negotiation. He also shares some of his favorite negotiation tactics and gives some pointers for dealing with the negotiation process. Mladen is full of spectacular insight into the negotiation process. Don’t miss it!
Mladen Kresic is the CEO of K&R Negotiations—aka Negotiators.com. For 30+ years Mladen has successfully negotiated billions in deals all over the world on behalf of the most well-known international companies. His expertise is working with C-level executives in business transactions. He is the author of Negotiate Wisely in Business and Technology, a guide for sales negotiations and an Amazon e-book best-seller.
Mladen notes that negotiation is viewed as an adversarial process. Most sales professionals want to be liked by their customers. They want to please them. To some, entering into a negotiation feels like they’re putting that relationship on shaky ground. But Mladen believes that if they must view a negotiation as a process to achieve a result versus giving it a negative connotation. Doing that will change the process for the better and help you become a successful negotiator.
Secondly, Mladen sees a lot of salespeople who don’t know when to walk away. They can be so desperate for a sale to meet their quota that they overlook things they shouldn’t. They’re so focused on being liked and reaching a deal that they get frustrated when the deal is dead. They have to learn to walk away when and if necessary.
Mladen focuses his negotiations around what he calls the leverage cycle. It’s value-based leverage that is about delivering an outcome to the buyers. It creates confidence in the seller that they can deliver what the buyer seeks to improve.
Mladen also focuses on agenda management. Most people think about an agenda in terms of how to conduct a meeting, interaction, or phone call. Instead, Mladen focuses on a macro-agenda, or what the entire process looks like—the resources and activities that need to happen in that timeline.
Mladen believes it is THE most critical aspect of the process that we should focus on in order to thrive as a successful negotiator.
Everyone has natural traits that will not necessarily change so you must play to your strengths. Mladen emphases that negotiation is an art AND a science and there are some things that can be learned, but that these traits are paramount to your success:
Mladen believes that if a salesperson possesses these attributes they’ll be one step closer to being a successful negotiator. Mladen goes on to share his Risk/Reward tactic, how to break down levels of importance, and other strategies and tactics that are important to the negotiation process—so keep listening!
Mladen shared some pertinent dos and don’ts in this episode:
If you begin to employ some of these strategies in your negotiations, you’ll likely yield more favorable results. Mladen shares his favorite negotiation story and how it changed his negotiation style in the remainder of the podcast—so be sure to listen to the end!
Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
Are you aware of how your mental mindset impacts the entire negotiation process? Do you walk into a negotiation feeling timid or unsure? Or are you confident and prepared for the negotiation process? Mary Grothe understands how mindset influences the negotiation process and has developed a strategy that she’s found success with. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to hear her take.
Mary Grothe is the CEO of Sales BQ®, an outsourced RevOps firm of fractional VPs of Sales, Sales Ops, and CMOs who serve companies across the nation by profitably rebuilding their sales & marketing departments and growing their revenue by focusing on the Behavioral Quotient (BQ) and proven inbound + outbound strategies. Don’t miss Mary’s unique insight into the negotiation process!
Mary points out that most executives know how to negotiate. If you go into a negotiation knowing that the person on the other end of the table is educated in negotiation tactics, you can go in with a different mindset. You’ll know that they’ll take one look at your proposal and will never agree to the first terms set forth. If you have the expectation they WILL negotiate, it changes how you approach the entire process.
A lot of salespeople crumble, give in on pricing, and don’t get great margins on their deals. So how does she prepare for the negotiation process? Understand that it’s about getting a win-win for both sides. Then you must calculate your walk-away point: your starting point, your middle point that you present as the walk-away point, and then your full walk-away point. Knowing what each of these numbers are helps prepare you and boosts your confidence.
Mary emphasizes that you must remove emotion from the negotiation process—it sets you up for failure. Salespeople are known for “desperation justification”. They have a quota they have to meet by the end of the month or end of a quarter. Most negotiators know this. What if this deal is HUGE and you’re behind on your quota? What if you don’t know your pricing? Do you come across as lacking confidence or knowledge about your product and service?
Trained negotiators—and your prospect—can pick up on your emotion and lack of confidence. Unfortunately, it gives them the leverage they need to negotiate a better deal for themselves. Knowing that you need a deal gives them the upper-hand. But if you remove emotion and any ulterior motives from the process you can level the playing field. Keep listening to hear Mary’s full thoughts on the topic.
Mary strongly believes that a great negotiator must embrace ‘PCE’:
Mary also notes that salespeople must be assertive and confident. When a salesperson believes they can solve their client’s problem it leads to confidence. There isn’t desperation justification in play—they truly believe in their product.
Mary shares four ways that you can leverage concessions to make them work for your company, while also giving your prospect what they’re asking for:
Utilizing some of these negotiation tactics will help each side find a win-win from concessions and come closer to a deal.
Mary shares a negotiation story that led her to develop her successful negotiation process—listen to the whole episode to hear how it changed her negotiation game!
Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
The negotiation process isn’t always easy for a salesperson to navigate. But mastering the process is paramount to your success. The bottom line: if you can’t negotiate well you won’t fare well in anything you do in life. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Chad Burmeister joins me to talk about some of the parts of the negotiation process that salespeople shy away from—and how to change it.
Chad Burmeister is the Founder and CEO of ScaleX.ai, which promises to deliver an “unfair competitive advantage” by helping your salespeople increase lead frequency and sales competency. He is the author of multiple books, including AI for Sales and Sales Hack. Don’t miss his stellar insight on the negotiation process.
Chris Voss was the first to make the phrase “everything is a negotiation” popular—and for good reason. Chad points out that nearly everything we do involves negotiation. When you make a purchase, engage in a conversation, or play with your kids, some sort of negotiation is involved. Chad points out that it’s well worth any monetary investment to go from a ‘C’ level negotiator to an ‘A+’. Perhaps that change in status means more bookings, more revenue—maybe even fame and fortune. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve in life can be benefitted from mastering negotiation.
The Objective Management Group has studied close to two million salespeople and found that only 54% are comfortable discussing money. A salesperson NEEDS to be able to comfortably discuss money in the negotiation process—yet most can’t stomach it. Chad sees that as one of the biggest roadblocks to a successful negotiation.
Chad notes that the discomfort associated with discussing money is often associated with the way you were raised. Did your family have money? Were they savers or spenders? Did they avoid discussing money at all? If you can understand your money mindset and buying pattern, you can learn how to master this part of the negotiation process.
Instead of letting a prospect walk away to “look at other vendors” you have to be comfortable pointing out what you discussed. “I thought we’ve discussed your priorities and requirements? You’ll save a million and increase sales by 5.4 million. Why do you need to look at the other vendors?” Chad shares another story about haggling in Mexico that drives the point home—so keep listening.
When Chad completed his MBA, he took a class on power, politics, and negotiation. They spent a lot of time role-playing negotiations. Roleplaying in class with other students was the catalyst he needed to learn the negotiation process inside and out.
Aside from consistent practice, Chad recommends taking a class or reading a book—you can even play poker. Learning the art of poker is a great way to learn how to see people’s tells, when they’re exaggerating, etc.
Chad also believes you need to master closing techniques. Instead of “let’s schedule our next step meeting” at the end of a meeting, ask “If I could... would you…?” You’re essentially giving them an option to voice any objections they have to closing the deal in that meeting.
To hear more of Chad’s advice—including his thoughts on gap selling—keep listening!
Chad’s second job out of college was with Airborne Express. He had set up a meeting with Uhaul about some packages they had been shipping with USPS They were shipping packages of license plates for $4.50. The Uhaul would meet the USPS truck in whichever state the plates were to be delivered. They send 12,000 of these a month. 10% of the time, the USPS truck didn’t make it in time and the license plates got shipped back. So Chad took the time to dig and find out the impact of the 10% of trucks that were missed.
Other than being fined, every once and a while a cop would sometimes pull over Uhaul trucks with expired plates and make them empty the contents from one truck into another. So with the fines, he calculated Uhaul was spending $5.87 to ship the new license plates. Airborne typically charged $6 to ship, but he offered to do it at $5 and demonstrated the total cost of ownership that would save Uhaul money.
Chad won the account—1,000 shipments a month. Then he won the Canadian account, which was 2,000 shipments a month. He went on to become the #1 salesperson at Airborne. Eventually, he got recruited away to a job in southern California where he met his wife and started his family—all because of the outcome of ONE negotiation.
Listen to the whole episode of Sales Reinvented for Chad’s insight on the negotiation process. If you’re looking to improve your skills—this is the place to start!
Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK